We’re celebrating our 25th birthday this month by turning back the clocks and offering its flagship Traditional English Ale (TEA) at 1992 prices in a handful of pubs close to the brewery in Farnham.
On Thursday 24 August, the local pubs will be offering pints of TEA at £1.30, the price paid by the first drinkers to taste the full-bodied, well-balanced bitter, 25 years ago. The ‘retro’ price is less than the combined duty and VAT alone paid on a pint of TEA in the pub today.
The £1.30 pints will be on sale on the evening of Thursday, 24 August in several pubs, including some pubs which served the first pints from the original casks of TEA back in 1992. TEA was an instant hit and became the cornerstone of the Brewery’s success.
Hogs Back Brewery managing director Rupert Thompson, said, “We’re delighted to be celebrating our quarter-century with some very local pubs and their customers, who will be able to enjoy TEA at 1992 prices for one evening.
“The fact that duty and VAT paid on a pint of TEA today are, at £1.36, more than the total price of a pint 25 years ago serves to highlight the high taxes charged on beer and we’re sure will gather drinkers’ support for the brewing and pubs industry’s request for a cut in beer duty at the next Budget.”
The pubs, who will each be selling a cask of TEA at the 1992 price from 6.00 pm until it’s gone, are:
The White Hart, Tongham – the first pub to be delivered Hogs Back beer in 1992.
Nelson Arms, Farnham
The Shepherd & Flock, Farnham
The Wheatsheaf, Farnham
The Duke of Cambridge, Tilford, near Farnham
The Bat & Ball, Boundstone, near Farnham
The Stag on the River, Eashing, near Godalming
Woking Golf Club, Woking
The Withies, Compton
Three Horseshoes, Thursley
Hen & Chicken, Bisley
Kings Head, 52 Quarry Street, Guildford
Hogs Back Brewery opened in August 1992 in Tongham, near Farnham, in 18th century farm buildings that at various times had stored wheat, and housed cattle and, appropriately, hogs. The first casks to roll out of the original brewhouse – now the site of the Brewery Shop – and into local pubs were TEA.
TEA remains our best-seller, winning awards including a Gold Medal at the World Beer Awards in early August this year, and gathering a loyal customer following in Surrey and across the south. Our reputation as a brewer of exceptionally fine ales was bolstered by subsequent launches such as Hop Garden Gold and RipSnorter and in recent years we have broadened our range, launching new beers such as Hogstar English Craft Lager, London’s Outback golden pale ale – both available in cans as well as on draught – and Montezuma’s Chocolate Lager.
This combination of innovation with brewing tradition has become our hallmark and was evident in our decision, in 2014, to plant a hop garden adjacent to the brewery and restore the near-extinct local hop variety, Farnham White Bine. It is the first new hop garden in the immediate Farnham area for over 100 years and produces Fuggles, used in TEA; English Cascade, used in Hogstar and a new variety this year, Pioneer.
Hogs Back Brewery managing director Rupert Thompson, said, “Hogs Back’s foundation preceded the explosion in microbreweries and indeed we would claim to be one of the ‘new wave’ of small regional brewers who broke the hold of the large national companies and aided the renaissance of cask ale, then in serious decline.
“We’re now a more significant player with a wider portfolio of beers and a broader geographical reach, but we remain committed to our Surrey roots – as demonstrated by our investment in the hop garden, and in expansion at the brewery to boost capacity and meet growing demand.
“These are exciting times for Hogs Back Brewery and, while we celebrate our first 25 years, we also have much to look forward to. Here’s to the next 25!”
With the third annual hop harvest this September set to be a bumper one, we’ll be celebrating it, as well as our 25th birthday, at a special Hop Harvest Party on Saturday 23 September from 3.00 – 10.00 pm. There will be live music, Morris dancers, bouncy castle and music tent for the children, food and of course beer – including the first taste of its green-hopped TEA, made with fresh green Surrey hops. Last year, 800 local beer-lovers, families and friends joined the party.
HOGS BACK BREWERY – 25 YEARS OF BREWING EXCELLENCE
1992: First barrels of TEA produced at the Manor Farm site in Tongham, where the brewery remains today. One of the first pubs to stock it is the White Hart in Farnham, where it sells at £1.32 a pint.
2000: TEA named as overall runner up Champion Beer of Britain at the Great British Beer Festival, run by CAMRA.
2006: A over T (Aromas over Tongham) named Supreme Champion Winter Ale of Britain at the CAMRA Winter Beer Festival.
2012: Business bought by Rupert Thompson, who had worked in the brewing industry for many years on brands including Carling (Britain’s biggest beer brand), Old Speckled Hen and Hobgoblin.
2013: Launch of Hogstar English Craft Lager, a 4.5% ABV lager brewed with five different hops and selected herb extracts and matured for over a month.
2013: Launch of Hazy Hog, a cloudy cider
2014: Planting of hop garden adjacent to the brewery, making Hogs Back the largest brewer with a hop garden in the UK. The first full harvest follows in 2015.
2014: Launch of Montezuma’s Chocolate Lager, the world’s first authentic chocolate lager, a collaboration with Montezuma Chocolate, based in West Sussex.
2015: TEA named Best Bitter in the South East in CAMRA competition.
2015: Hogstar wins Gold Medal at the Society of Independent Brewers’ National Keg Beer Competition.
2016: Launch of London’s Outback golden pale ale in keg and cans.
2016: Launch of Farnham White, a golden single hop bottled beer made from the Farnham White Bine on Hogs Back’s hop garden, sold exclusively through Waitrose.
2016: Footage of the hop harvest and celebrations at the brewery are filmed by BBC’s Countryfile programme.
2017: At the World Beer Awards, TEA wins the Gold Medal in the 4%-5% ABV Bitter category and Hogstar a Gold Medal in the Czech-style Pale Lager category.